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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 10, 2010 9:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: First TOO (So much for a myth!)

Everything was hard for Jerry to sing in '85!

I only know Jerry said that Cryptical was dropped because it stopped being emotionally viable & he no longer liked the words. Certainly by 1970, he was already losing his enthusiasm with it, as they found new things to do with the Other One. As I mentioned with Golden Road, the Dead quickly dropped all their pre-Robert Hunter songs; so in a way it's surprising this Garcia-penned song lasted as long as it did - I think because it was musically rewarding, not musically stifling. (It certainly outlasted its brethren on Anthem, New Potato & Alligator & Caution - New Potato was a much more precise, demanding song to play - and Cryptical also outlasted most of the songs on Aoxomoxoa!)

Was it musically limiting or restrictive? I don't think so. It seems full of possibilities to me, with many ways they could vary it. But in 1970, they'd often bail out of the Cryptical reprise after only a minute, right into Cosmic Charlie....which Garcia always complained was a difficult bitch to play, and was much more limited & restrictive, but they still had affection for it nonetheless.
The band thought of their music much differently than we do. These are the guys who got tired of Viola Lee, after all. Jerry would give bizarre explanations for why they dropped various songs ("we did it to death, had nothing new to say", meanwhile playing Me & My Uncle 300 more times...) - I think Cryptical COULD have been more open, had the band chosen it. To some extent, it was kind of dissolved in the Other One and Dark Star as those jams grew more varied & extensive. And I think the band was also cutting back on that kind of jamming 'wildness', slamming really HARD on a jam the way they did in Viola and the Cryptical reprise. (And, practically speaking, it was replaced by Wharf Rat in '71.)

If you would like to be easily boggled, perhaps it's time to start your 1967 research project - it'll only take a few hours of your time - take on 6/18, 5/5, 8/4-5, 9/3-4, and 11/10-11, and see how 10/22 holds up in that lustrous company!
[P.S. They even did Lindy on 8/4/67...though sadly, it's not on any of the Archive copies.]

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Poster: Jim F Date: Dec 13, 2010 1:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: First TOO (So much for a myth!)

For me, rather than focus on the how's and when's of Bobby changing up the lyrics to his section and when Cassady died, I find it far more interesting to think that the suite that would not be what it was without the life and death of Neal Cassady begins with a eulogy of sorts about how "he had to die."

Of course you could probably say that the Cryptical part wasn't really written specifically about Neal, it was more of a metaphorical take on the inevitability of evolution and change. And I believe I've read accounts that support that. I've always likened it to being about coming of age, about so many things relevant to the 60's like LSD, the hippie movement, the death of JFK, etc. Like Jerry often spoke about the term "Grateful Dead" being about the death of the ego, I kind of see Cryptical as having some kind of meaning along those lines. A song about how nothing is really meant to last, and how we are forever changed after certain experiences. I dunno, just some thoughts.

Musically, I could write for days about the Cryptical reprise, as well as the evolution of The Other One itself. The Other One really is the quintessential GD song, it really sums up a certain attitude, as well as it musically being just about the best example of the band doing what they did best, second only to Dark Star. I've always seen them as sister songs, really.

For example the way they were sortof interchangeable vehicles for jamming in 1972. Dark Star was the half-hour jam song one night, the Other One the next. They both served the same purpose, and while completely different in terms of mood and attack and such, they were sortof arranged similarly in that they followed a structure, for example intro, jam on the main theme, first verse, a spaceout, theme jam, reinstatement of the main theme, second verse, etc.

Perhaps some other time I'll add some thoughts on the Cryptical reprise and it's evolution, as well as it's odd unpredictability near it's final days in the steady repertoire. Unpredictable in that one night it might be a 1 minute interlude they quickly slip out of with little fanfare, then the next a fully explored 10 minute piece.

One thing I will briefly say is that LIA is so right about how the Cryptical reprise could have really gone to many different places had they put their mind to it. We've seen it happen with the likes of Phil and Friends and such, where it has been explored with nearly if not as much determination, containing just as much variety and gear shifts as The Other One itself. But that's for another day...